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Story Telling in 104 Degree Heat

Yesterday we headed to Massachusetts for our final field trip of the year.
We were supposed to visit the Sculpture Park at the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln.
However, it was going to be hot.
Really hot.
Fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk and schvitz-like-crazy hot.
But we went up there anyway, with lots of water, sunscreen, and hats and the hope that the museum staff would give us an indoor tour of the museum instead of taking us through the Sculpture Park in the heat.

Not only were all four of our museum educators willing to accommodate our request, but they prepared a phenomenal tour of their 2008 Annual Exhibition instead. My guide, Linda, had seven of my kids, plus me and one of our chaperones. She began not by going over the rules, but by telling my students that artists tell stories. She asked them, “How many of you like stories?” Thankfully all of them said, “Me!” From that moment, I knew it was going to be a quality tour steeped in aesthetic education practices. 🙂 (She also told them there were no right or wrong answers today!) 🙂 🙂

Linda toured my kids around the the Annual Exhibition asking them, “What do you think this means?” or “What are we looking at?” or “What do you think the artist was trying to tell us?” Plus, for each type of artwork we looked at, Linda asked my kids to tell her what kind of story each of them thought the artist was trying to tell. Just that simple question got my young writers/art interpreters going. They came up with amazing story ideas, which I think has something to do with the fact that they have heard many stories read aloud to them in their school career and partially due to the fact that they were willing to take risks because Linda made it safe for them to do so.

So, despite the heat, my students wanted to continue telling stories, through art, when they returned. Luckily I had some Model Magic in the storage room. The Model Magic, coupled with magic markers and their imaginations, allowed them to create fantastic sculptures of their own (They saw a few even though it was super-hot!) at the end of the school day, thanks to the inspiration they had at DeCordova.

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who focuses on writing workshop. I've been working with K-6 teachers and students since 2009. Prior to that, I was a fourth and fifth-grade teacher in New York City and Rhode Island.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

I live in Central Pennsylvania with my husband and children. In my free time, I enjoy swimming, doing Pilates, cooking, baking, making ice cream, and reading novels.

3 thoughts on “Story Telling in 104 Degree Heat Leave a comment

  1. I saw your group on my way to a meeting at the museum and they lifted my wilting spirits (wasn’t it about a thousand degrees in the parking lot?) I’m so glad you had a good experience. As a former teacher and now full-time writer—I tell stories too—reaching out to kids is what’s most important to me about DeCordova . They are doing a terrific job and I loved reading your description of the trip.


  2. I love field trips! The rising gas prices and the fact that we are in a rural area meant NO field trips. Luckily, I teach 5th grade and we have the DARE program. This year our DARE officer used confiscated drug money and took our classes to the Aquarium. It was great and I got some of my best writing of the year that day.


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